Flash in the Pan: Divine Onion Crisps
[Sometimes, you just want a dish that's quick and easy--no fuss. I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so simple to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan." (For other FitP recipes, see "Categories" at right).]
Have you noticed that there are more Flash in the Pan (ie, quick or simple-to-make), recipes on the blog lately? Aside from the fact that many of you have requested faster and easier fare, I must admit that lately I turn to whatever thing it is I can conjure up in the kitchen with either (a) 30 minutes or less total time from prep to table; or (b) almost-instant prep time with a more protracted cooking time that allows me to go off and to my own thing for, oh, a few hours (finally, I get why so many of you love your slow cookers). These divine onion crisps fall into the latter category.
The other night, I was frying up some onions as the first step to some other recipe (which now eludes me). It was close to dinnertime, and The HH happened to walk through the door from work just as the onions reached their peak of bronzed, pliable, caramelized glory.
“Oh, wow, those smell good,” he remarked as The Girls stampeded toward the door to greet him. “There’s nothing quite like fried onions, is there.” It was more a statement than a question, to be sure. And I couldn’t agree more. When I catch a whiff of onions being sautéed up for a stir-fry, or a pilaf, or the beginnings of a soup, I often want to stop right there and just pile a bunch of the tangled golden mess on top of a cracker and enjoy.
Well, I decided to follow that urge with these crisps. I’ve feasted on kale chips and zucchini chips, and I’m always trying to find other kind of veg chips I can bake up at home. They’re a great way to consume more veggies without too much starch, fat or salt, but it’s the prep that always stops me, since I don’t own a mandoline and cutting slice after slice of zucchini or sweet potato or parsnip or whatever feels like too onerous a task.
Enter. . . onions! Onions come ready made with their own, built-in, slices! Just cut into quarters and peel apart. It’s almost instant! I took an onion, peeled it and tossed with olive oil, and popped it in the oven on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes.
[Raw onions on their way into the oven.]
. . . . And burned most of it. (It was at that moment I wished I hadn’t sold my dehydrator four years ago). Regular heat was just too intense for the delicate edges of the onion layers.
But I was not deterred! I knew that onions offered a good amount of flavonoids (a kind of antioxidant), especially quercetin, useful to reduce allergies–exactly what I need during the winter months (though it can’t actually get rid of my “allergy” to winter itself, sadly.). Onions are also rich in sulfur compounds that can help prevent cardiovascular disease; they can improve the quality of bone and connective tissue (as someone with osteopenia, I love that one); they are anti-inflammatory; and they help prevent cancer. And, of course, there’s the heavenly flavor of a well-caramelized onion. For 46 calories in an entire medium bulb, you really can’t go wrong.
In the end, I found a way to make these so that they are evenly browned and perfectly light and crisp. If you like onion rings or caramelized onion, you will love these crisps. I also realized that a dehydrator might not work quite as well, since the onions won’t actually brown if the temperature is too low. But if you’re okay with that, go for it.
So go ahead and try these out. They practically make themselves while you head out to focus on the rest of your life.
I’m linking this post to Thank Your Body Thursday.
[Your perfect snack awaits.]
I’m linking up to Iris’s Five-Ingredient Mondays.
Divine Onion Crisps
Like a feather-light crispy onion chip, these crisps make it very easy to eat an entire onion in one sitting (but no onion breath). I suspect they’d be great made with a touch of hot sauce or curry added to the oil as well, or from large, sweet Vidalia onions; feel free to experiment. Be sure to make this snack on a day you plan to be at home most of the day, though–you will need 5 hours.
2 large yellow onions
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
sprinkling of fine sea salt
Preheat oven to 200F ( 95C). Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Cut off the root end and top end of each onion. Stand each onion up on one of the cut ends, and slice vertically from top to root end to create four quarters. Each quarter should naturally be divided into layers that can be peeled apart from the outside. Separate all the layers and place them in a bowl; drizzle with the olive oil and salt. Toss with clean hands until the slices all seem well coated with oil.
Place the onion slices in a single layer on the cookie sheets. If an of pieces is really curved, fold it lengthwise until it cracks (see photo of raw onions, above), to help it lie a little more flatly on the sheet.
Bake the onions for 2 hours (you can check at the 1-hour mark to see if they are getting too brown on the edges, but this is not likely). Go away and do your own thing. After two hours, remove the cookie sheets and flip over each slice of onion one at a time. Return to the oven for another 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours, until the crisps are very deeply browned and crisp. When they begin to brown but aren’t ready yet, they’ll appear golden but will still be pliable; you want to bake longer if this is the case. When you think they’re ready, turn off the oven and leave the crisps inside to cool to room temperture. Remove the trays and store the crisps in an airtight container.
Suitable for: ACD All Stages, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, vegan, low glycemic.
“Mum, I’m sorry to say that those crisps don’t look at all appealing to me. . . I guess because they’re onion, which you know is poison for dogs. But then again, poo looks appetizing to me and Chaser, so what do we know?”
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